By John Meyer
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the new millennium with two distinct demographics on the rise. The first group is comprised of traditional start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures involving everything from franchise ownership to inventors. The second group is less well known than its counterpart, but is populated by similarly ambitious go-getters looking to leverage their respective skillsets into profitability. It is the latter group, dubbed micro-entrepreneurs, that is presenting an increasing number of opportunities for those with the ability to cash in on themselves.
If you are a micro-entrepreneur, or simply taking stock of yourself and considering becoming one, here are seven ways to monetize your skills and assets into valuable and viable services:
1. Teach/Train/Mentor as a Content Area Expert
Consider for a moment the specific technical skills you possess. Now think about how your life and job experiences could positively impact students looking to follow in your career footsteps. Dedicated business schools and community colleges are always looking for quality adjunct professors who can offer students more than textbook knowledge, but can back it up with real-life experiences in the trenches. .
Ever heard of standardized tests? The Common Core? Then you’ll know how important tutoring is to countless middle and high school students across the country. Working as a tutor requires no affiliation with a school district, nor formal entry into the education or corporate training fields — just a passion for helping teens develop requisite skills in a variety of academic disciplines. For a greater challenge, also consider tutoring students at the college level.
Whether you are a skilled editor, writer, or website designer, there are numerous opportunities to work in a freelance capacity. First, you must determine your area of expertise, then calculate how much your time and effort are worth. Then you must aggressively seek out freelance projects. Referrals are the best starting point to get your work known, however, do not be afraid to dip a toe into the waters of sites like Elance.com or even Craigslist.com for freelance opportunities. Additionally, you can also submit your portfolio of work and resume to agencies around the globe who may need an assist from someone with your particular expertise.
4. Rent Out Your Home or a Room
If being a land baron is a secret dream, you might first consider becoming a modest landlord. Scaling back into shared office space is a popular trend for small businesses, and your extra room(s) may be the perfect option to host another business person and generate some income. Additionally, you may be able to write off a designated co-working space in your home on your taxes at the end of the year.
5. Volunteer with Museums, State Parks, and More
Volunteerism has never provided an economic windfall, but it can be parlayed into monetary gain over time. If you possess knowledge in a specific area that fits with a museum, gallery, zoo, or park, your intellectual database can quickly turn you into an authority and lead to permanent employ. Consider some of our nation’s historic battlefields such as Gettysburg, and know that volunteer tour guides with strong interpersonal skills are in high demand.
Similar to the teaching/training route, but geared towards the corporate crowd, your skills as a successful business person might translate perfectly into a consulting role for like-minded individuals. Established businesses who may want to branch out into other areas may lack the expertise you have in a particular realm. Similarly, other entrepreneurs in start-ups may want to pick your brain to understand what lies ahead, or take you on as a consultant for a limited engagement. As with many other micro-entrepreneurial options, consulting will be determined by a person’s respective expertise, and how that person can segue into a consulting or lecturing capacity.
7. Artist/Handcrafts sales
Etsy has been a boon to artisans and craftspeople for selling their wares to those who appreciate custom made/handcrafted items. Ebay was the previous outlet of choice, but Etsy has become the go-to niche for those with creativity to spare. Do you have an artistic hobby? Research what others on Etsy are creating … and selling.
There are a wealth of opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs to use their talents to make money and open new doors. These are just a few suggestions to begin adding to your bank account and list of accomplishments. As always, one opportunity may lead to the next even bigger opportunity.
John Meyer is head of Strategic Partnerships/Marketing at The Company Corporation. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and connecting them to resources that help them thrive. He is also a political strategist and art collector in his free time. Follow him at @Company_Corp.